Kshama Sawant Solidarity organizers will collect recall signatures to force vote on Nov. ballot

Expect to see more canvassers in the effort to recall Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant: her solidarity team, which is fighting the recall, announced Friday that they will begin collecting signatures to force the issue onto the November ballot and avoid a special election, which could see lower turnout.

"The [recall] wants a winter special election because they don't want ordinary working people to vote, they know that Black people, working class people and young people typically vote in dramatically lower numbers in special elections," Sawant said in a press conference Friday. "They're afraid of a democratic election and they want their wealthy base, the corporate elite of District 3 who live along the waterfront, to decide this bogus recall election."

In April, the Washington Supreme Court issued a ruling allowing three charges in the recall petition against Sawant to move forward. The courtruled that charges of opening City Hall to protesters, leading a protest to Mayor Jenny Durkan's private residence and using public funds to promote a ballot initiative were factually and legally sufficient and could proceed in the recall.

Since then, petitioners with the recall have been working to collect approximately 10,700 signatures from residents of Sawant's District 3, which represents Capitol Hill and the Central District, to get the issue on the ballot. The recall campaign stated that it has collected close to 9,000 signatures, however, they could push the issue back until special elections scheduled for 2022.

Sawant likened that delay to voter suppression laws being passed in the U.S., and wants to "force the hand" of the recall effort. Now, in a change of tactics, Sawant's Solidarity Campaign will be among those asking for signatures, doubling down on a motto used by the recall campaign that "voters can decide for themselves" on the merit of the charges against Sawant.

"The right wing, who are teaming up with big business in this recall, want to overturn the historic victories our movement has won: the Amazon tax, the $15 minimum wage, the landmark renter's rights laws, and they do not want us to win rent control for sure," Sawant said. "This recall effort is undemocratic top to bottom."

At the press conference, Sawant even signed a copy of the recall petition, placing it another step closer to the ballot.

"Our message from our movement to the recall is 'put up or shut up,'" Sawant said. "Let's have a vote in November."

In the interim months since the petition was argued in court, both sides of the recall have raised significant amounts of money. According to data from the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, the recall effort has raised $553,919 as of Wednesday while the solidarity effort has raised $569,191.


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